New England plants are "dinosaurs" too

Dinosaur State Park Arboretum in Rocky Hill, Conn., has the most unusual collection of living fossil trees and shrubs in New England. Visiting the arboretum is the closest youll get to a trip to the past in a time machine. When dinosaurs first became numerous in the late Triassic Period of New England, nearly all of the major groups of vascular plants except the angiosperms were in existence. Conifers, cycadophytes, ginkgoes, ferns, and large arborescent horsetails dominated the landscape. By the mid-Jurassic Period, conifers had become more diverse and many of their fossils have been assigned to modern families such as Araucariaceae, Pinaceae and Taxodiaceae. Dinosaur State Park grows representatives of as many of the Mesozoic era plants families as can grow at its USAD Zone 6 site. Currently, there are more than 200 different kinds of living fossils in the collection. Some of the more unusual species are the Cedar-of-Lebanon, the Dawn Redwood, (growing alongside its close relative the Giant Sequoia), the Incense-Cedar, the Plumyew, the weird Monkey Puzzle Tree, and the Hibba Arborvitae.

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